Message from Fr. Peter Andronache
Now that we have started to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior in the flesh, as always, we look forward. On January 6, we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan by St. John the Baptist, where the Holy Trinity was revealed: Theophany, or Epiphany. The Orthodox Church traditionally associates this Great Feast with the great blessing of waters, an echo of Christ's sanctification of the living water of the Jordan. Our Theophany services include the Royal Hours on Monday, January 5, at 9:00 a.m.; Vesperal Liturgy (of St. Basil) with the great blessing of the waters (inside) on Monday, January 5, at 5:30 p.m.; Orthros, Divine Liturgy (of St. John Chrysostom), and the great blessing of the waters (inside) on Tuesday, January 6, starting at 9:00 a.m. Come early to read psalms!
We will joyfully join for an outdoor blessing of the waters in Coralville at the IRP Dam Pedestrian Bridge (near Iowa River Power Restaurant, 501 1st Avenue, Coralville) with the parishes of St. George and St. Raphael on Saturday, January 10, at 4:00 p.m., followed by pan-Orthodox Vespers at St. Raphael at 5:00 p.m., with a fellowship meal to follow.
Our parish is blessed to have St. John the Baptist as our patron, and therefore our altar feast is his synaxis on January 7. On the day following a great festal event, we celebrate the saint or saints who was involved in that event as a synaxis, which is why we celebrate St. John on a day which is not his conception (September 23), birth (June 24), death (August 29), or even the finding of his blessed head (February 24 and May 25) or the translation of his relics (October 12). Close on the heels of the celebrations for Theophany, we will celebrate Great Vespers on Tuesday, January 6, at 6:00 p.m., with Orthros and Liturgy on Wednesday, January 7, starting at 9:00 a.m. Come early to read psalms!
The water blessed at the services of Theophany is traditionally used to bless homes of the faithful. An email has been sent to everyone on the parish listserv with the house blessing schedule and instructions; those who do not respond to the email and who are both local and on our mailing list will receive the schedule and instructions by mail. The beginning of Lent is the traditional end to "house-blessing season," and this year it will come early (Monday, February 23), so please make arrangements as soon as possible. Since the water from the Theophany great blessing of the waters is used, the home blessing service will only take about 5 minutes! If you would like your home (or car or business) blessed, please contact Fr. Peter to make arrangements. His joy is to assist God in consecrating all of creation.